Listening can keep a workforce “engaged and happy,” asserts Lisa Grabl, CompHealth’s locum tenens president. She recently devoted a Physician Practice article on effective listening as a skill every leader needs for efficiently running a business. She offers leaders six steps for listening more effectively.
1. Be approachable
“Let people see you as not just the supervisor or boss but rather a real person,” Lisa says. “Setting aside a regular time to get out and just talk with employees is key to building approachability.” Lisa admits that — for many leaders — this may take some work.
2. Be transparent
“If you are open and honest with your employees, they are more likely to be open and honest with you.” Let employees know what is going on and they will feel more empowered.
3. Have regular one-on-ones
Regular one-on-one meetings with employees foster direct feedback. However, letting the employee drive the conversation is the way to go with these sessions.
4. Hold focus groups
Focus groups provide a great way to listen and achieve qualitative feedback. Identify a problem and assemble a small group of employees to address potential solutions or present other ideas for improving the workplace.
5. Conduct employee surveys
Surveys are another effective approach to listening, especially for reaching those who want their ideas to remain anonymous. Lisa cautions not to ask questions you have no intention of acting on. Also, be ready to report on and share all the results you do receive.
6. Act on feedback
The key to all effective listening, says Lisa, is acting on the feedback you receive. For example, CompHealth asked employees where the location of their new headquarters should be, then used the feedback to decide on the final site. The facility would eventually include standing desks, a cafeteria, and a health clinic — all due to employee feedback.